Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wishin' and Hopin', Thinkin' and Prayin'.....

Published:  June 18th, 2013
The Pirate's Wish (The Assassin's Curse # 2)
By: Cassandra Rose Clarke
Strange Chemistry
ISBN-13:  9781908844286

After setting out to break the curse that binds them together, the pirate Ananna and the assassin Naji find themselves stranded on an enchanted island in the north with nothing but a sword, their wits, and the secret to breaking the curse: complete three impossible tasks. With the help of their friend Marjani and a rather unusual ally, Ananna and Naji make their way south again, seeking what seems to be beyond their reach.

Unfortunately, Naji has enemies from the shadowy world known as the Mists, and Ananna must still face the repercussions of going up against the Pirate Confederation. Together, Naji and Ananna must break the curse, escape their enemies — and come to terms with their growing romantic attraction.

     Ananna and Naji are trapped on a misty island, and stuck together with a curse that is nearly impossible to break.  But unless they do, Naji's well being is dependent on Ananna's safety.  To break the curse that ties them together, Naji will have to accomplish three 'impossible' tasks.  Number 1: Experience true love's kiss.  Number two: hold a princess' starstones in his hands.  Number three: create life out of violence.  While still on the island, their Wizard ally is killed by a manticore that he has been keeping captive.  Ananna makes a deal with the manticore, who accompanies them on the ship her pirate friend Marjani brings to rescue them.  Once off the island, they set about completing the tasks, all while trying to avoid the attentions of those in the Mists that want to kill Naji and trying to come to terms with who they are/their feelings for each other.  Will Ananna's love for Naji stay unrequited?  Can they break the curse and lead separate lives ever again?  And will they both make it out alive after confronting their enemies?
     I was impressed with The Assassin's Curse, the first book in the series.  That said, I think that I enjoyed this one even more which is a rare thing in a sequel!  It starts where the previous novel left off, with Ananna and Naji stuck on the island and trying to find a way off so they can break the curse.  So, they are surprised when Ananna finds the dead body of the wizard who lives there and the manticore that killed him.  Being who she is (someone who isn't necessarily careful of consequences) Ananna makes a deal with the manticore.  Ongraygeeomryn (the manticore) is a bad influence on Ananna and an absolutely hilarious character in her own right!  It's her that convinces Ananna to kiss Naji while he's sleeping and fulfill the first task.  This makes things twice as awkward between the assassin and the pirate girl, because now she has to work even more at hiding the fact that she's in love with him.  This book has plenty of adventure with battle not being an out of place occurrence.  It definitely wasn't just another romance masquerading as a high fantasy novel. 
     I loved the additions of Marjani as a more important character in this one and her backstory, along with her lost love.  Queen (nee Princess) Saida was definitely not your average royal and the quest to get to her starstones (along with the revelation of who had stolen them) was a nice touch.  The growing relationship between Naji and Ananna was well done and unlike a lot of the people who complain that he never actually tells her that he likes/loves her, (or that he was wrong) I felt like it was very true to his character for him to behave that way.  For him to just start kissing her and decide to be with her and not actually make the decision out loud was so 'Naji' that I could really picture it happening that way.  The ongoing conflict with the Mists and the Hariri clan are resolved and the battle scenes are epic.  Also the visit to the King of Salt and Foam (and his underwater kingdom) were completely epic!  Talking SHARKS YOU GUYS!!! :)  I liked the way this book ended and thought that it had pretty great resolution for the situations of the different characters and that Clarke avoided a lot of the awkward maneuvering we normally see in second books with her decision to make this a duology instead of a trilogy.  The angst was a bit overdone sometimes, but with romances that begin one-sided that's kind of a given.  Overall, highly recommended for fans of high fantasy who would like to read something out of the normal direction for the genre.  It does read a little mature, so I would say it's a cross between adult and YA in its content. 

VERDICT:  4.75/5  Stars

*received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, via NetGalley. No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book was published on June 18th, 2013.*

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